Promoting Growth in Youth

Based on these photos, it’s safe to say summer is starting on a high note

-Thank You-

First off- shout out to each and every one of you for dedicating your time, energy, and hearts to BYEP this summer. We are so grateful to welcome you into our community and get to know you better. So much so that we’d love to have dinner with you! Please join us….

Sunday, June 9th from 5:30-7:30 pm at The Bozeman Ponds for a tasty bite & good company.

Challenging Growth

Being a mentor is a multifaceted role, and there are so many different ways to approach the relationship. One thing I believe us all to have in common is the desire to promote growth. In order for us to be effective in this pursuit we have to provide healthy challenge. One approach to facilitating growth includes these four actions.

  • Expect my best - expect me to live up to my potential (Katie once said, no kid is ever going to thank you for lowering your expectations for them-what a wise woman)

  • Stretch - push me to go further

  • Reflect on failures - help me learn from my mistakes and setbacks

  • Hold me accountable - insist I take responsibility for my actions

Reinforcing a Growth Mindset

When we notice and challenge young people to grow around their own interests and abilities, we are responding to their own initiative and motivation. That responsiveness builds their self-confidence and motivation to keep challenging themselves. It also encourages us to keep challenging them to grow in these areas. If, for example, kids are doing well in school, we expect them to keep doing well. Having that expectation affects their own effort and expectations of themselves, and they continue to grow. But, if kids aren’t doing well, we sometimes expect less of them. That, in turn, leads them to expect less of themselves, so they don’t work as hard. Breaking that cycle can be a difficult—but critical—challenge. Here are some back pocket suggestions for striking a healthy balance between challenge and support.

11 tips for challenging growth

  1. Be as specific as possible in giving feedback. Note what they did well and what was good about it. Contrast feedback with past examples as evidence of growth, particularly if the growth is important to the young person.

  2. Highlight future goals. Talk with young people about the things they look forward to or dream about.

  3. Expand young people’s thinking by asking hard questions, providing alternate explanations. Encourage openness to different opinions. This helps them expand their own thinking.

  4. Emphasize that mistakes are a necessary part of growth and learning. Praise them for hard work and using good strategies, whether they succeed or fail.

  5. Expect young people to do their best, even when doing something they don’t like.

  6. Emphasize discovery, mastery, and self-improvement more so than doing better than others.

  7. Challenge young people to try things that are a little hard for them to do.

  8. Not all growth challenges are planned or desired. Young people grow through frustrations, conflicts, struggles, and tragedies. They learn that setbacks that are part of life. Each of these can become a “teachable moment.”

  9. We can’t “make” young people grow by challenging them. To grow, they must take responsibility and action themselves.  Adults can set rules and limits, inspire and stretch them, and set the expectation for them. But it’s their job to focus and take steps to achieve their goals. We can’t learn and grow for them

  10. How we respond to that failure makes a huge difference. For many different reasons, kids sometimes won’t complete a task or achieve a goal. If we ridicule, belittle, or shame them, it undermines their self-confidence and motivation. It makes them less likely to try again or take on new challenges

  11. If we see failure as part of learning, they are often motivated to try again. It’s important to provide care and emotional support as they work through their disappointment. In the process, they develop more self-confidence and better decision-making skills. Having a Growth Mindset helps them see failure as part of learning. It teaches them that failure is an opportunity to grow through dedication and hard work.